Doug Hart

Doug Hart, president of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke at the Legislative District 18 Democrat’s monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Diana Martinez/Special to AFN

Funding for Social Security, Medicare and affordable health care were the issues of concern Wednesday during the newly formed Legislative District 18’s monthly meeting.

President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, Doug Hart, filled in for Congressional District 9 candidate Andrei Cherny as the meeting’s main speaker.

Just about 40 days away from primary elections, LD18 Democrats including fellow CD9 candidate David Schapira gathered to hear from Hart on top concerns for the senior community.

“This election is important and it’s important to protect Social Security,” Hart said.

Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, a chapter of a national organization, has about 40,000 members in the state.

Their mission, according to Hart, is to “try to keep elected officials informed and honest about what the issues are regarding seniors.”

With Social Security, Hart said the group doesn’t agree with the idea of setting the Social Security retirement age to 70 from the current age of 67.

Along with warning his fellow Democrats about “distorted reports about Social Security’s deficit,” Hart said it’s important for everyone to stay informed.

In 2011, Social Security in the country was reported to have run a $45 billion deficit, just a few billion dollars less than 2010’s $49 billion deficit reported by the government.

Still, Hart urged the meeting’s nearly 40 attendees to “keep the fight.”

“We urge to you that these issues are important to us, we need to think about them, we need to get informed,” Hart said.

• Diana Martinez is freelancing this summer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach her at

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